A Bombay Breakfast

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Everybody knows that an English Breakfast is fried bacon, sausages, mushroom, eggs and tomatoes; a Continental Breakfast is bread rolls or croissants and butter and perhaps jam, with coffee or tea or hot chocolate; but the question I ask today is what is a Bombay Breakfast ?
Here is my look into what fuels millions in this city?

A Bombay Breakfast epitomizes the city in every way- it is fast to cook, diverse, mobile, well packaged, high on carbs and low on greens.

If you have grown up in Bombay you would have noticed a particular piece of food is a perennial part of your diet - bread. Not the sliced ‘modern bread’ you pick up from the nearest pan-wallah shop. It is “ Pav”, this ‘bread roll’ of sorts is delivered straight to your home bakery fresh by the friendly neighbourhood pav-wallah. The pav-wallah is just one of many visitors an average Bombay household gets - all those friendly faces that keep you busy answering your doorbell through the day - the dudhwala (milkman), the paperwalla (newspaper boy), the bhajiwalli (vegetable grocer), the machiwali (fisherwoman) and the string of cats that follow her, the istriwalli/dhobhi (the fellow who washes your clothes or irons them or does both), the jamadar (garbage-collector), the watchman (security at the main gates), the maali (gardener - not in all cases), the bai (maidservant).. I would have continued but the list is endless.
Once you are all stocked up on pavs [by the laadi (loaf)] we are all ready.

The Naashta No.1 [Naashta - breakfast] in the minds of most Mumbaikers would invariably involve the wada-pav. This carbohydrate bomb of a breakfast snack is probably one of the most munched on. I would be interested to know the number of wada-pavs [in metric tonnes] we eat everyday. If you’re not happy with the potato patty you can always substitute it with a samosa and you have voila a samosa-pav. By the way do you know there is a samosa stall in Lower Parel called Chamosa....know why???....because it sells hot chai with samosas.....




Mumbai’s favourite breakfast snack was born 35 years ago, when Ashok Vaidya, a snack seller outside Dadar station, decided to experiment. The combination of batata vada and split pav continues to be the city’s sledgehammer answer to the burger.


Piping Hot Samosas !
[Pipping Hot Samosas and Wadas at Bandra Station, Mumbai]

Feeling a little diet conscious -try the kanda poha (flattened or beaten rice with onions).

Bombay is a heterogeneous mix of people, cultures, religions and languages. This reflects on the meals in the city and I am going to classify the breakfast in the city into 3 broad categories - Maharashtrian, Irani and the Udipi.

The Marathi Option

Prakash

For a traditional Mahatrashtrian breakfast option go to Prakash - Shakahari Uphaar Kendriya [vegetarian snacks center]. Busybee would suggest Vinay Health Home but I’m sticking with Prakash. A few blocks away from what was Shiv Sena Bhavan lies Prakash [on Gokhale Road, Dadar West] a small eatery that specializes in all things Marathi - Misal, Pohe, Sheera, Sabudana Vada, Dalimbi usal, Kothimbir Vadi, Puri Bhaji, Piyush etc.
Here is a menu.

It is usually crowded so be prepared for a short wait. The waiters are suitably attired in the Prakash signature pink uniforms and cute Nehru caps with Camlin pencils hinged between their ears. The language switches from mumbaiya hindi to shudh marathi (which in my case is not all that shudh [pure]). I suitably rewarded myself for waking up at 5 am with Sabudana-wada [sago based fried patties] and some hot Masala Milk.

Sabudana Wada avec Masala Dudh

You could also have their famous Misal [Puneri], served with Pavs of course.


The Persian Connection

If you want to treat yourself to a grand slam breakfast with all the works, head to an Irani restaurant - perfect for weekends when you can sit back, sip some irani chai and wait for the waiter to fullfill your order that spans half their menu. Breakfast options include - Unda [egg] Bhurji [scrambled], Double Bhurji, omelette single, omelette double, masala omelette [single, double, triple], bun omelette, kheema omelette, bun chuska [huge bun with a healthy dazzle of butter] - I could continue till I drain all the saliva from my mouth. All you have to do is choose a good irani restaurant and I’m not going to name one because I love them all.


Going Down South - Udipi

I am not going to expand too much on this category as the Udipi is a subject I think everyone is well versed in. It is perhaps the most globally accessible form of Indian breakfast dinning- idlis, medu-wadas, dosas, sambhar,chutneys, etc. Head to Matunga for the best in class restaurants.


Till next time have a great Sunday morning and more specifically a large yummy Sunday Breakfast - Bombay or otherwise .




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37 comments:

Bombayite said...

awesome post, mate..
cheers

Rahul said...

Sulk. I am hungry and want Sabudana wada now. And unfortunately you don't get Sabudana wada in Hyd. Can you believe it?

d.K.m said...

very appetizing.. and I am hungry now... Despite eating a heavy dinner, which was preceded by samosas in the evening, a huge lunch at a function and sweets in the morning at my friends after many a dosas at home for breakfast :P

ps:my blog has shifted to www.dkmfirefly.com/blog

Lukky said...

Lots of food info! Cool. I'll be in Bombay in December. I'm printing this out as a reference on what to eat :)

arZan said...

Akshay

Great pics....dosent help that i am seeing this just before lunchtime and it makes me extra hungry !!! :):)

Patrix said...

You missed one breakfast item. The misal also can be called an Mumbai ingenuity that uses leftovers from the previous night (typically!)with a generous helping of dry farsan. Unhealthy, considering the dubious contents, but damn good! :)

Kaushal said...

awesome stuff dude! i stay above Prakash by the way :) now u know thats not a beer belly!

Sunil said...

excellent, as always. Do you always wander around with a camera?

mitokondrion said...

Yum... cool post, thanx for the super descripts! Now I just hafta hunt down those awesome dishes in our fine 'food-paradise' that is singapore... unlikely though, it might be a tad easier to actually cook them...

KJ said...

Yummy Yummy

Yeh Dil Maange More.....

your posts are making me HUNGRYYYY

good job.

have a nice day.

Akshay said...

bomabayite - thanks mate

rahul - I don't know about sabudana wasa in hyderabad but the thing I did here was that there this kiosk near paradise circle had serves good wada pavs may be just may be they serve up other traditional marathi fair.

kishore - there is no harm in being hungry. I'm hungry too at this point but all I have keep myself going is sweet company chai. Sure I'll update the link.

arzan - thanks, building an appetite is a healthy side effect.

toni - hope you have a safe and eventful trip to India. Many of the type of foods [except for Udipi] are Bombay specific cuisines.

patrix - misal deserves a post all for itself. I still not fully deciphered all the stuff they hide in the spicy turry they use I'm sure they use pohe though. I couldnp't order the same at Prakash bc it happend to be Ekadashi and they didn't serve anything with onions on that day.

kaushal - I know I thought of you while eating there. I know but I'm sure the breakfast mom made was desirable.

sunil - good question, actually the answer to that is yes. I like taking pictures. Its taking the from of a full time portable hobby

mitokondrion - you should - there not to missed. Indian street cuisine is definitely one the best.

kj - thanks. have a nice day too.

pat said...

Golly now I'm hungry. Very interesting!

Anonymous said...

drooling. gimme a vada pav now!

rash

Nick said...

I love sabudana wada! Thanks to Kaushal for introducing me to Prakash, and thanks to Akshay for promoting it on-line.

chappan said...

Akshay
You missed out one of the most important constituents of ombay - the gujjus breakfast. Khaman, dhokla, phapda, gathias, khandvi. I am not a gujju myself, but anywhere you turn around in Bombay you cannot possibly miss the ubiqutous neighborhood farsaan shop.

Great article, nevertheless.
Sourin

Geetanjali said...

Hehe you should think of rechristening this a Gourmand's Blog;-)

mediumlatte said...

wooohooo!!
The Piyush from Prakash was amazing. The waiters would be exasperated with giggling little me accompanied by my smirking cousins .. each barely reaching the table from their respactive chairs .. and gulping down a piyush hastily.
Dude. You made my day.

gawker said...

Your posts are brilliant man. kadhi wel milala tar punyachya khanyachi chakkar karun dya.

livinghigh said...

heheh.. Cafe Olympia in Colaba and another place whose name I forget behind the Bombay Stock Exchange for some yummy Iranian fare...

Shree Krishna in Lower Parel makes amazing misal pav and sheera... and de mobile JUmbo Kings at every station are a commuter's life-saver for vada-pavs.

and as for udipi, there's this tiny lil place near Matunga Circle, which serves yummy vadas, dosas et al.

Anonymous said...

Sluurrrpp....
Although I can no more be called a Mumbaiite but this definately has made me Nostalgic.

Thanks Author.

aparna said...

dude i think we left two vadapavs in ur bag that night after attending bose's party.
i see ur sundays are quite productive checking out all the above mentioned places.
no they dont put pohe in misal.

pinkblog78 said...

yumm yumm yumm...I am going to refer to all your posts next time I'm in B'bay and am gonna make sure I eat at each and every place that you have mentioned.

pinkblog78 said...

yumm yumm yumm, next time I'm in B'bay, i'm gonna make sure I eat at each and every place that you have mentioned in your blog posts.

Nicole said...

Wow! Fascinating fantastic food! You've whetted my appetite for Bombay food and increased my interest yet again for all things Indian~great post, Akshay. I enjoy you're writing and photos so much.

Suyog said...

You have got one of the most amazing blogs I have ever come across. The pictures and the stories behind them are enthralling to read. Being from Maharashtra but staying in Bangalore, reading about Pune and Mumbai makes me quite nostalgic :-) Keep the wonderful work going!

Anonymous said...

Try Aswaad at Dadar. The thaleepeeth is to die for.

Anonymous said...

Bom Bom Bom Bombay Mere hai... Could ne Mum Mum Mumbai mere hai...

Expatriate from Bombay/Mumbai- now live is USA...Man made me revisit and ant to visit Mumbai...
.... just for the Vada pav, Misal and the Jain style Pav bhaji (to impress Guju girl) in Bandra- Churchgate..
..back from College days.... way before it got tooo crowded

Anonymous said...

Pau comes in laadis which are six to a laadi or eight to a laadi. Can anyone tell me which is the original one? I've been seeing Eight to a laadi since i was a child. Now suddenly some bakers are selling laadis with six to a laadi. The size of the laadi remains the same though.

Bringabrahma said...

Yumm...I would like to visit Bomaby for whole two weeks this time...and explore all the local food joints..

nice blog..

me myself said...

ekdum mumbai isstyle blog...... keep it up....awesome photos i never like sabudana vada.....but lookin at ur blog im sure heading 4 1....they look awesome....hmmm

gr_ra said...

very nice post. a nice reminder of mumbai and its dietary variety.

Chandu said...

What a wonderful post man.After living in Bombay for many years , despite not being a Maharashtrian, I fell headlong into love and admiration of the city.And its food.Been to most the places you mentioned , except one big grumble.When you travel out of Mumbai to Aurangabad or Pune , its easy to find the Kanda Pohe or Sabudana Wada roadside vendors,but not so much in Mumbai.In borivali east me and a fellow food lover , biked in pouring rain from east to west in a desperate search for Kanda Pohe.Finally,we spotted a small hole in the wall,which had misal pav , which partially satiated our appetite , and 2 hours later,when it was nearly time for lunch,we still could not find the Elusive Marathicha breakfast.What a pity.Finally had hot masala chai and Gujju Alu wadi at the end.

On a early morning trip to Dadar , after a late night booze session with fellow bachelors , finally hit upon the true heart of Maratha cuisine,from Puneri to Gomantak , and of course near Dadar station , you find most of the delicacies,including thankfully Kanda Pohe,Kothimbir Wadi and Thalipeeth.

Best Kanda Pohe I've ever had ? In Aurangabad , off a roadside thela waala.He was surprised when I took a quick photo of him.Probably thought I was nuts.

Anonymous said...

Very well written & articulate article...keep going

Anonymous said...
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Princess Mia said...

awesome post....btw nice blog

Anonymous said...

@ AKSHAY!

very nice post!! Awesome..
would like to know place nearby (SOUTH mumbai) healthy and cheaper Thali.... may be bhojanalaya etc..

Ajit Joshi said...

find difficult to have kadak pav (Brun) maska at Irani nowadays